Why your doctor might surprise you

The Good Life Letter 

30th March 2018

  • Taking time to think about your body could help you be healthier
  • Find out why the power of nature is finally being recognised
  • This is the beginning, hopefully there is more to come
Every now and again I want you to stop what you are doing and think about how your body is working.

Whilst you are reading this there are literally millions of processes, reactions and activations occurring throughout all the tissues of the body.

Some of these are generating energy that powers muscles, the brain and vital functions, others are ridding the body of waste, pathogens or parasites.

Yet more are remodelling and repairing damaged cells so that bones, ligaments and tendons are able to stand the strain of what we do in the most efficient way possible.

These complex and highly inter-related actions and reactions are fundamentally what life is – what makes you the person you are and not just a pile of organic compounds at the mercy of whatever environment you are in.

I really don’t think any doctor or medic ever has the sense of how complicated these processes are or how delicate the balance and inter-relation is that can be harnessed for the well being of the individual patient that sits in front of them.

But maybe things are changing.

This week a report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that where doctors embraced and utilised alternative and natural remedies they were prescribing a fifth fewer antibiotics.

In addition, another article published in the Lancet stated that many patients suffering lower back pain were not being given the best treatment or the correct advice, and that there was an over-reliance on pain killing drugs that have little effect other than to increase dependence.

The Lancet piece identified that the best remedies were those that allowed patients to remain active, understand that the reason for their pain was due to strains and sprains rather than anything more serious and to self manage with the help of massage, mobilisations and home pain killing devices.

So why the sudden interest in a more natural approach from the medical profession?

Mother Nature wins in the long run

An article in the Times under the headline ‘Doctors turn to herbal remedies when the drugs don’t work’ carries a few interviews with GPs who do things differently from their colleagues.

In one case a GP describes how she became frustrated with the conventional approach of trying to match a symptom with a medication as she began to see the limitations this placed upon her skill as a healer and more importantly the risks to her patients from the drugs she was doling out.

As a result, she also trained as a homeopath and now uses a more integrated approach in her practice and is seeing far greater positive results than her colleagues who toe the pharmaceutical party line.

The BMJ study identified that this GP was not alone in her rationale as there are 400 registered GPs who are also fully trained homeopaths, with similar numbers working as osteopaths and naturopaths too.

Predictably this sort of news gets a certain element of the scientific press into a filthy bate because they stamp their little feet and say – “This is nothing more than placebo, a sham, snake oil for the gullible... where is the scientific evidence?”.

Academics and journalists who owe much of their income to the beneficence of the global pharmaceutical industry challenge the validity of any natural practice because they highlight the wealth of data supporting the use of drugs against the dearth of trials conducted for alternative approaches.

In the Times article I read something that had me out of the chair and cheering the common sense and obvious logic of a riposte to this criticism.

Dr Michael Dixon who chairs the College of Medicine which is trying to broaden GP focus to consider the whole patient presentation rather than just a series of symptoms said:

“GPs are practical, if a patient gets better that’s all that matters.”

Hooray at last someone actually gets what this is all about.

By tapping into the natural rhythm of the body and optimising its natural desire to heal itself the outcome will always be more significant than by attempting to block and modify what our systems are trying to do to restore balanced function.

Dr Dixon also says that there are enormous areas of illness ranging from chronic pain to irritable bowel syndromes where modern medicine is failing badly and asks why it is wrong to use alternatives that have fewer side effects and are tolerated better by patients.

By Jove! I think he has it.

The right-thinking society

By accepting that our lives are all about balance, that we thrive because our body is an intelligent and capable whole, and that we exist as part of a natural environment, then we should perceive our health as being something more than just an absence of disease.

Restoring function to any of our systems has to reflect the nature of each of these considerations and must allow the body to dictate the pace of change and the processes utilised in doing so.

No manufactured drug can ever replicate the complexity of nature and thus they act like sharp barbs to the body rather than comforting and supporting salves.

For those who look at biased and skewed trials data promoted by pharmaceutical companies as the true evidence of modern medicine need to stop and rethink what they are saying.

Can we ever consider treating a symptom as a standalone goal rather than looking at the holistic body and offering an approach which is more consistent with its needs and natural process?

Having said all this I recognise the part that surgical and pharmaceutical interventions have played in the major and most challenging health presentations and fully accept that our understanding of how our bodies function is due to the huge amounts of money donated by the drug companies.

But surely the time has come to reflect upon medical approaches and allow a broader range of options to be put in front of patients, which is why I applaud any GP who is brave enough to challenge the system.

Who knows, maybe a few of them have been reading the Good Life Letter after all. 

Yours, as always




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